I believe in government's obligation to do some regulation when it comes to the economy, but as far as the car industry bailout is concerned, I'm just not feeling it.
I do feel for the workers in Oshawa and for the secondary businesses that live and die based on the success of the GM plant, but moneys shouldn't automatically go out to the car industry unless major changes are made.
First off, let's get management's heads out of their bums. Talk about no accountability. The ludicrous spectacle of the Big 3's CEOs sitting in front of a Senate committee last Monday and insisting that the auto industry's current difficulties have nothing to do with their corporate planning, nothing to do with their choice of car design and nothing to do with any decisions made at head office - blame the global financial meltdown, they say - cannot be tolerated here in Canada.
Just as in America, Canadian manufacturers were counting on the sale of gas guzzling Hummers and SUVs to prop up the bottom line. That strategy not only demonstrated small, short-term thinking, it took no notice of the global crisis we're in - and I'm not talking financial, I'm talking ecological.
Current conditions on the planet have created a perfect storm of circumstances, a situation that demands real change. We have an opportunity. Check that, we have no choice but to reorganize just about everything we do - how we produce our food, how we implement our eco-values and how we organize our economy, including our unions' relationship to it.
So - no dough to the car industry until all management salaries are scaled back drastically. I won't put another cent into another CEO's pocket. The Japanese have a law that CEO's can't make more than eight times the average salary of their company's workers. That's why the head of Toyota makes $2-million. Not nothing, but also not the insane rates going to North American executives.
No dough to the car industry unless a pile of it goes to research and development on green transportation technologies. And those technologies don't necessarily have to apply to cars. We desperately need some creative thinking. Time for General Motors to take the lead and generate a plan for retooling those factories
No dough to the car industry unless they guarantee they're not going to take the money and run. By run I mean close up in Oshawa and move the operation to somewhere like Detroit.
No dough to the car industry unless the Canadian Auto Workers continues to question the old dialectic. It's not workers versus management anymore, it's about how workers and management can cooperate to salvage a dying industry. The CAW began that process during the last set of negotiations by agreeing not to take raises previously negotiated. Good start - it may be, though, that salaries will have to be cut back. Does that sound reactionary? Maybe, but cutting salaries beats cutting jobs.
The key - no kneejerk responses to anything anymore - only new creative thinking.